(0-5) vs Bears (3-2)
The Bears got off
to a slow start last week and were trailing 20-7 at the half to New Orleans. They
were never able to close that gap except for a late touchdown with about two minutes
left. The final score was 26-18 in favor of the Saints.
The Giants got off
to a quick start last week and had the home fans thinking that maybe, just maybe,
this time everything was going to be all right. They couldn't keep it going, making
some questionable calls in the process, and wound up losing to the Eagles 36-21.
After twelve seasons the Chicago Bears parted ways with veteran
linebacker Brian Urlacher. General Manager Phil Emery said that the team could
not agree on a contract with Urlacher, for years the face - and the heart - of
the franchise. Urlacher left them with a team record 1,779 tackles, had 41.5 sacks,
22 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles. The Bears may be
able to physically replace Urlacher, but his leadership will be missed out there
on the field and in the locker room.
head coach Lovie Smith led the Bears to three division titles, two NFC title games
and a 2007 Super Bowl appearance. Smith emphasized taking the ball away from the
opposition, and no team did it more than his Bears. Last year Smith got his team
off to a 7-1 start, finished at 10-6, but missed the playoffs. Winning ten games
wasn't good enough for Phil Emery and Smith was fired after nine seasons.
Emery stated that "to win championships we have to be in contention on a
consistent basis, and to be in contention we have to make the playoffs on a consistent
basis." He also pointed out, "We've had defensive excellence, but during
the course of coach Smith's years here, we've had one offense that was ranked
in the top 15." The Bears new head coach is offensive-minded Marc Trestman. He
led the Montreal Alouettes to two CFL championships and is running an NFL team
for the first time. Trestman had previously worked with quarterbacks Bernie Kosar,
Rich Gannon and Steve Young, and has connected well with Jay Cutler.
They've made positive
improvements to the line in the offseason, but that still needs to be digested
as center Roberto Garza is the only starting lineman who was with this team a
year ago. Jay Cutler is adjusting to his new offense and last week threw for 358
yards and 2 touchdowns. In between that, while adjusting, he was sacked 3 times
and fumbled once. Top receiver Brandon Marshall is coming off a great season and
was very productive in the first few games, but now defenses have been on top
of him. Cutler threw his way only 5 times last game and got 4 receptions for 30
yards. Cutler instead checked down to second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery, who
caught 10 passes for a franchise-record 218 receiving yards and 1 touchdown.
In case you're wondering (regretting?), tight end Martellus Bennett is doing just
fine and is a great addition to their new offense. In just five games the former
Giant already has nearly half the catches he had with the Giants last year and
is providing his new team some nice blocking as well.
Their lead rusher Matt Forte is averaging 4.6 yards a carry, but has seen his
number of carries drop almost steadily with each game. Instead, Cutler is getting
him the ball in the air and he's become the third leading receiver on the team.
Forte already has 27 catches for 200 yards on the year.
Linebacker Brian Urlacher is gone
and Julius Peppers, now in his 12th year, led his team with 11.5 sacks last season.
This year after five games, Peppers has just one sack and his tackles are down
too. Shea McClellin, a rookie last season, is comming on strong, but overall this
defense is not generating enough quarterback pressure. They
let Drew Brees hit on 29 of his 35 passes. Mostly all of those completions were
within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage and now they are suddenly down two defensive
Starter Henry Melton was placed on injured reserve two weeks ago
and they just lost Nate Collins, his replacement, to a torn ACL in this last game.
Undrafted rookie Zach Minter might see some playing time. Chris
Conte and Major Wright lend good run support, but the safeties are inconsistant
with their pass coverage. Deeper in the secondary, cornerback Charles Tillman
is tough to beat though he is playing through some injuries.
Manning was a veteran free agent quarterback
playing for a new team, much like his older brother was last year, he'd be on
the bench by now. The thing is, the Giants know he has all the right ingredients
in him to just suddenly go back to being great once again. The 'suddenly' will
happen once the offensive line becomes a bit more solid. Dealing with shifting
personnel and injuries, that could be a few games from now. Until then they just
have to be as good as they can be and hope to buy time and make some big plays
Back in again at the running back position is - no - not Brandon Jacobs.
That's old news now. It's Da’Rel Scott who was cut after the Kansas City game
and is suddenly a necessary ingredient after David Wilson suffered a neck injury.
Wilson has been ruled out for at least this one game. Hopefully running backs
are blessed with short memories. Wilson had to sit out almost his entire rookie
season after fumbling, Brandon Jacobs became an undesireable, and Scott was just
recently cast off as unnecessary baggage. These are what we have right now for
this game along with rookie Michael Cox.
They were doing a fairly respectable
job until Michael Vick had to leave with an injury. Nick Foles, a quarterback
who actually likes passing to his receivers, came in cold to take Vick's place
and then the defense folded. Overall they allowed 299 passing yards to the Eagles.
They later said that they weren't prepared for that quarterback change, and who
could expect them to be? After all with only 5 sacks on the season, they're hardly
knocking starting quarterbacks out of the game.
Safety Will Hill had a real
nice game after being suspended for the first four games for violating the league’s
drug abuse policy. To improve the defense they just acquired Jon Beason in a trade
with the Carolina Panthers last week. They plan to get some good milage from the
three-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker. A Thursday
game comes up fast so there's no time to bring in Mr Kotter to educate these sweathogs.
Just study the same old lesson plan - pressure the quarterback - stop the run
- cover the receivers, but this time really do it.
- The Season
We don't think Eli Manning
will be looking over his shoulder after an incompletion worrying that rookie Ryan
Nassib will be warrming up on the sidelines. That said, maybe Tom Coughlin will
feel a tap on his, turn and find Jim Fassell shouting in his face what Coughlin
once said, "I'm aware of the injury factor, the number of IRs, which is a cancer,
let's face it. It's something that has to be corrected. It's a mental thing, I
believe, as much as anything else."
As much as Coughlin wants to mentally
will-things to happen it just doesn't work that way. Calling something a 'green
zone' doesn't make it so as he has certainly learned by now. Coughlin will live
and die by what he believes in and that brings us to another thought. His insistence
a while back on keeping his talented but aging core players way too long on his
former Jaguar team cost him his job. We hate
to play 'Ghost of Christmas past' with Tom Coughlin this soon before the holiday,
but these thoughts keep creeping in. Also to be fair, he has a buddy in crime
this time, general manager Jerry Reese.
While the 3-2 Bears are currently lamenting the fact that they are on a two game
losing streak, the 0-5 Giants are out there playing like they can't get out of
preseason mode. It doesn't help that the Giants are the traveling team playing
on a short work week. The Bears offense is clicking and their weakness lies more
with the defense where they just sustained injuries, are about average against
the run and below average against the pass.
For the Giants to win this week
Eli Manning at least will have to throw more touchdowns than interceptions. That
sounds like a ridulous statement, but it's happened only once this season and
by a slim margin. Manning completed 4 touchdowns to only(?) 3 interceptions in
game one against the Cowboys. Since then that ratio of 4-3,has been 1-4, 0-1,
1-1, 2-3. The offensive line will probably
play better this week. The running game is anybody's guess, and the defense will
have to hope that their partners do well with both points and the clock.
The Giants play their game on Thursday
in Chicago. On Sunday at 1pm the Eagles (2-3) will play the winless Buccaneers
(0-4) at Tampa Bay. The Redskins (1-3) are on the road in the late Sunday night
matchup with the Cowboys (2-3) at 8:30pm. The Bears and Eagles are favored to
win their games. The Giants and Redskins are not.
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TeamGiants on Twitter.Notes.
Giants Eli Manning leads the NFL with 12 interceptions.
Brandon Jacobs had 11 carries last Sunday.
That was his highest single-game
total since Dec. 11, 2011.
scored at least 31 points in three straight games for the first time since 1965.
Oct 21 - Minnesota at Giants.
Oct 27 - Giants at Eagles.
Tickets - Buy